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The Oliver + S Playtime Dress and Leggings

The season is finally changing here in Texas.  That means I'm storing away the girls' summer dresses and pulling out our fall and winter clothing.   I've been taking inventory of what my girls need and the list is surprisingly long.  Our store bought knits from winters past don't seem to hold up nearly as well as our mama-made wovens do.   That means new clothes for everyone this season.  I started with the Oliver + S Playtime Dress and Leggings for Tia.

I was slow to come around to this pattern, but now I really, really love it.  Like I wish I could sew three dresses for each of my girls in this pattern.   You know, if I had all the time in the world.

Initially, I wasn't sold on the dropped shoulder.  I worried it might look like I hadn't set in the sleeve correctly.  But I am seeing this style a lot now and it has totally grown on me.  I love the relaxed feel.

I sewed the dress in an Art Gallery Knit (Morse Dots in Sun) from the Gnats Shop.

I'm so glad I climbed aboard the knits trains.  There was a bit of a learning curve at first, mainly because there is so much variation between knit fabrics- much more so than wovens, in my opinion.  But you really can't beat knits from a comfort or convenience perspective and now that I'm used to sewing with them, they are quite simple to work with.

I made quite a few changes to the pattern.  I'm never sure how much to go into this or whether it reads like the Charlie Brown teacher.  :)

I moved the back placket to the front, adding it to the front center seam allowance and cutting two front bodice pieces.  I saved the facing for the placket only and then finished the neckline with an invisible binding (kind of like this).

Tia is 6 1/2 but measured as a size 4 in body measurements and a size 6 in height.  I thought I had read somewhere about sizing down with this pattern, so I consulted with Shelley and Kristin to get their thoughts. They are both O+S pattern gurus and had sewed this pattern before.  They both thought I should stick with the size 4 in width and add length.  And that turned out to be the right call.  I think the fit is perfect.  Thanks, guys!

To err on the side of caution, I went with the size 7 in length.  The skirt was three inches too long, but the sleeves were barely long enough.  I hemmed them with a 1/2" hem, turning the fabric over only once since knits don't fray.

My experience with knits is that they can shrink as you wash and dry them (and these kids grow like weeds, too!) so I prefer my knits to be a bit long.

All of my girls are in need of leggings.  They are so hard on their store bought leggings that nearly every single pair had been worn through at the knees.  Most didn't even make it through the season last year!

This legging pattern is really awesome!  For one, it's a single pattern piece - you can't beat that.  But also, I love the fit.  I was looking for a tight fit, almost like footless tights.   I cut the size 4 and added 4 inches in length, keeping the leg completely straight at the bottom.  I was so happy with the result.

I found the legging fabric at Joann's.  It's really stretchy with fantastic recovery plus the fabric is super cozy. It might be hard to tell from the photos, but they are a charcoal color with subtle striping.   All three of my girls are hoping for a pair of these!

Tia has the skinniest little legs.  They might even be smaller than Iris' in width, even though Iris is only 4.   But Tia is amazingly fast!  Like lightning fast!  She can run at least as fast as Indigo and Jude - maybe faster(!) and Indigo's hip comes up to Tia's shoulder!  The girl's got speed and she loves to run, too!

On this particular day, she had been racing me, which was fun but also so tiring (see previous paragraph about her speed). :)  So afterward we took a break and she collected snail shells.

She says she'd like Dan to drill small holes into them to make a bracelet or necklace for her.

She really is the sweetest!  I'm sure Dan will be happy to oblige.


  1. Such a sweet and comfy looking dress, great for fall! I've been doing the same thing and adding a lot of length with leggings because E's legs have gotten so long none of her leggings cover her ankles anymore! Great mods to switch the placket to the front and do a binding at the neckline. Very smart.

    That's so cool that Tia is a speedster! Track was actually my favorite sport in high school. I love the adrenaline rush. Sprints. :)

  2. It's fabulous Rachel. I'm so glad you enjoyed the pattern and it looks like the perfect everyday kind of dress. Yay for sewing knit fabrics for kids! That colour is just perfect for Tia too.

  3. Such a lovely, comfy dress! I really like the placket in front, and the fabric looks so buttery soft. I bought that same knit in blue back in August, maybe this will finally kick me into gear!

  4. Ooooh, moving the buttons to the front!! Such a great idea!! This dress is on my to-sew list this winter too. I have made many pairs of the leggings and love that pattern, it's as simple as can be and fits great. I love your fabric choices (as always - mustard gold yesssss!). Tia is beautiful and yes, perhaps there is some track and field in her future? I want to see this necklace when it's done, please.

  5. Tia is such a gorgeous wee girl! And the dress is just perfect too! I love the invisible neckline, I haven't tried this with knit fabric before but will be now. Great idea to put the buttons on the front, I think it needed that bit of detail!

  6. Such a sweet and comfortalbe dress! Love the yellow. She is a beautiful little girl! Your Charlie Brown comment is cracking me up. That's exactly how I feel when writing posts - is it too boring to read or do people find that info useful. :)

  7. I love this pattern (this reminds me that I am really overdue for another one of these dresses), and your mods are great. I hear you on the life expectancy of store-bought knits - so frustrating. Good thing your girls have a mama who can sew awesome knits. Also, I feel like Tia has really grown up since the last time I saw photos of her (which wasn't that long ago).

  8. What a perfect colour for beautiful Tia. She will love her thin legs when she is older ; ) No one has ever said that about me....
    I used to sew with knits for my daughter and loved it. Enjoy sewing up that wardrobe!

  9. Oh she is so sweet, and tiny! And sweet :) again :) and so cute in her new mama-made outfit. That dress looks very cosy. I actually like dropped shoulders. I hope we will get to see her snail shell necklace or a bracelet in one of the following posts ;) I am falling in love with sewing knits. And somehow I am finding myself in the same boat re a new season outfits - my big girlie needs everything! Gah! Good thing her sister is set for life (or at least for now) as they are two weeks short of being born 5 years apart :)

  10. I love this outfit and I love moving the buttons to the front! I made this recently as my first ever knit project with my shiny new serger. I wasn't delighted with the way it turned out because it was way too wide for my girl and the shoulders were soooo slouchy. I think mixing sizes is a great idea and i'll try it next time. I did love the leggings though, they're fantastic.
    On another note, with all the wovens you've made for your kids - are you constantly ironing? Do you have any tricks to avoid this?

  11. Such a great outfit! I love moving the buttons to the front and love the mustard fabric. I have this pattern sitting on my dresser, waiting to be sewn again but I just haven't felt the motivation. Nice to know that sewing it up in knits gives that much extra room!


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